Title: The Perfect Wife
Author: J.P. Delaney
Publisher: Quercus Books
The perfect life. The perfect love.
Abbie awakens in a daze with no memory of who she is or how she landed in this unsettling condition. The man by her side claims to be her husband. He’s a titan of the tech world, the founder of one of Silicon Valley’s most innovative start-ups. He tells Abbie that she is a gifted artist, an avid surfer, a loving mother to their young son, and the perfect wife. He says she had a terrible accident five years ago and that, through a huge technological breakthrough, she has been brought back from the abyss.
She is a miracle of science.
But as Abbie pieces together memories of her marriage, she begins questioning her husband’s motives–and his version of events. Can she trust him when he says he wants them to be together forever? And what really happened to Abbie half a decade ago?
Beware the man who calls you…
The synopsis for A Perfect Wife suggestes this is a story of one woman trying to work out what had happened to her before her accident, and uncovering the relationship she previously had with her husband. This is correct, but I was surprised at how little the synopsis mentions any kind of sci-fi element, which actually is a prevalent part of this story. It’s not usually a genre I read a lot from, but I really enjoyed The Perfect Wife – which is lucky, as I loved JP Delaney’s first two novels so this had a lot to live up to!
It’s definitely different to what I expected, but it’s a really interesting premise – Abbie wakes up after an accident and discovers she’s an AI robot, a replica of the ‘real’ Abbie who died, and created by her tech-loving husband. He says she’s proof of how much he loved her and missed her when she died. But is everything as it seems?
The first quarter of the book really pulled me in – it’s intriguing and surprising. The book then takes a slightly slower pace, but the details revealed are still really interesting. We learn more about Abbie and Tim’s life ‘before’ and what secrets Abbie may have had herself. It gets a bit mind-bending as you realise more elements to the story which makes Abbie almost an enemy of herself – I liked this part (you’ll know what I’m referring to when you read it!) but it did make my brain hurt a bit!
One drawback to this book, however, is that the characters themselves are quite one dimensional, meaning you don’t feel like you’re reading about real people. Obviously Annie is a robot so her character is going to reflect that. However this did mean I struggled to properly empathise with some of the characters, or connect with them.
The way it’s written – altering perspectives between someone telling the tale of life ‘before’ and a perspective told from Abbie’s point of view, almost as a creepy observer, can be confusing at times as it switches quite suddenly, but I found I followed it quite easily and really enjoyed finding out more about Abbie’s previous life.
I’d recommend The Perfect Wife to anyone looking for a suspenseful thriller with a sci-fi twist.
Many thanks to Quercus Books for providing a copy of this novel, on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.